Understanding Traction Hair Loss

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Understanding Traction Hair Loss

Posted By Steve Roegsrs     September 3, 2021    


Traction Alopecia: A Beginner’s Guide

Traction alopecia relates to the gradual hair loss due to pulling forces applied to the hair, most often from styling.  This commonly results from certain hairstyles such as braids, tight ponytails and pigtails.  
African American females are most commonly affected by the condition, though all genders and races can be afflicted.   Gymnasts, swimmers, and tennis players are also particularly prone to traction alopecia with the hair worn tightly back during competition.   It\'s unclear if wearing hats is a cause as well. 

What Causes Traction Alopecia?

Traction alopecia is caused by repetitive stress resulting from tight hairstyles.  This includes braids, weaves, cornrows, tight pony-tails, heavy locks, hair rollers. The constant tug is damaging to the hair follicles and causes hair thinning and loss due to scarring.

What Are Typical Signs of Traction Alopecia? 

Traction Alopecia can be associated with:

  • Scalp tenderness
  • Broken hairs
  • Patchy hair or thin hair near the hairline
  • Bumpy lesions on scalp where hair follicles are stressed

Early awareness of these symptoms is key when hair loss can be prevented or permanent damage can be avoided.   The most direct solution is to reduce the stress on your hair with alternative styling. 

A hair loss specialists may recommend additional treatments such as minoxidil, topical steroids and nutrient supplementation.  Healing from traction alopecia can be a lengthy process and working closely with your hair transplant doctor is important. 

If permanent scarring has occurred, additional considertions include PRP and even hair transplant. For more information on how much is a hair transplant, see here. 

What Treatment for Advanced Traction Alopecia?
FUE (follicular unit extraction)

FUE (follicular unit extraction) involves securing individual hair follicles and re-implanting into the desired areas under simple local anesthesia.  The donor sites are usually found at the sides and back of the scalp of the patient.  This procedure does not require any significant incisions and thus there is less healing and little risk for scarring. 

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections

PRP for hair loss stands for platelet-rich plasma. The plasma is taken from your own blood and contains growth factors to repair hair follices and promote hair growth.  The plasma is directly injected into your scalp in a single setting.  PRP may not have the same effectiveness as more powerful growth factors obtained from stem-cells or chord blood. 

Stem-cells injections
Stem cells for hair loss are the new rage in medicine and will have a large impact on hair restoration for the future.  Exosomes are new territory in regenerative medicine and represent powerful growth signals harnessed from mesenchymal stem cells.  However due to some poor quality control and abundance of low quality suppliers, the FDA has halted the use of stem cells for hair transplants and other similar procedures unless inside a clinical trial. 

Traction alopecia is an alarming and anxiety inducing medical problem involving hair loss.  Using early intervention, a diagnosis can be made before permanent loss. 

Hair loss that is not should have consultation with a hair restoration specialist.   There are numerous ways now both minimally-invasive and non-surgical to treat advanced hair loss. 

source: https://uberant.com/article/1809071-understanding-traction-alopecia/